If the trouble is not that we are wicked in our hearts (and it's not), and if the trouble is not that God is somehow not good (He is good), that still leaves us with a rather large disconnect in prayer - where we pray for something that we believe is good and God-pleasing and God still doesn't give it to us. As we saw on Monday, the first step toward the good things of God is that we have to prepare the soil. We have to be at least preparing a place for the things we want to harvest; God isn't just going to plop some magical goodness right down in the middle of our depravity.
But something else that's important - and I've said it before, but I'll say it again - is the way that we are praying. We have to be praying not for what we can see, but to see the way that God sees. We need to pray to have His eyes for the situation that is on our hearts.
We know, at least we say that we know, that there are things at work in this world that we can't see. We know that there are powers at work in this world that we don't understand. We know that God is not the only force we have to reckon with, even if He is the greatest one. We know that for everything that we know, there are ten things that we don't know. And honestly, we don't even know that we know what we think we know because, well, we know that our own perspective is limited.
With all of this knowing, doesn't it just make sense that our first prayer ought to always be for the things we don't yet know? Our first prayer ought to be for greater knowing, for greater understanding. Our first prayer ought to be to see the things that we don't see right now, to have the kind of vision for our situation that God has for it.
If we don't, then of course we are not going to know what to pray. How could we?
The greatest challenge that we face in prayer is that we too rarely start with asking for a bigger vision. We too rarely start with asking God how He sees things. We don't defer to God's wisdom, but rather, we try to put our wisdom on His heart. We try to tell Him what we see. We try to tell Him how we've worked out the math on this one.
The greatest challenge that we face in prayer is that we too often talk too often and don't listen. We don't even ask God to speak; we just ask Him to move. We ask Him to heal us, love us, reward us, secure us, protect us, justify us, sanctify us, and promote us but we don't ask Him to teach us. We don't ask Him to expand our minds or our hearts, only to satisfy them.
And then we blame God when He does something bigger than our small minds can fathom. We can't understand why He didn't see it our way, but we haven't asked to see it His. Though, we should. That should be the first thing we ask for.
God, grant me the vision to see my life the way that You see it. Only then will my heart ever possibly understand all that You're doing in it.